Allegrini 2018


The United States has once again reached the highest position on Wine Spectator’s "Top 100", one of the most anticipated charts in the wine world, for the third consecutive year with Merlot Napa Valley Three Palms Vineyard 2014 Duckhorn. Italy moved up to one step away from the podium with Brunello di Montalcino 2012 of Casanova di Neri, at position number 4, confirming unfailing quality that has few rivals, after its first place in 2006 with Brunello di Montalcino Tenuta Nuova 2001. In all, Italy has16 wines on the charts, just like in 2016, though it is still far from the 2001 record, when there were 21 wines on the ranking.
After years of "pluralism" from emerging countries, like Spain, New Zealand, Portugal and South Africa, the Top 10 has changed, and has returned to one or two, at the most three dominant countries, just like in 2016: France and the USA dominant and Italy breaking the duopoly. It’s similar the year of the first edition of "Wine Spectator", 1988, but the strengths were very different, and among the top ten wines there were four from Burgundy, three from Bordeaux, two from Italy (Gaja Barbaresco Sorì Tildin 1985 and Castellare of Castellina I Sodi of San Niccolò 1985) and only one from California. The proportions are generally the same for the "Top 100” on the whole: 31 American wines, 16 Italian, as mentioned, 18 wines from France, 9 from Spain, but also 6 from Australia, 4 from Portugal, 3 from Argentina and Germany, 2 from Chile, South Africa and New Zealand, and one from Uruguay.
Tuscany leads for Italy with 6 wines in the ranking, followed by Piedmont at 2, together with Veneto and Campania, while Umbria, Calabria, Sicily and Marche have one wine each. Just behind Brunello di Montalcino 2012 of Casanova di Neri, there is Altesino Brunello of Montalcino 2012 Montosoli at number 11 and Campogiovanni Brunello di Montalcino 2012 Agricola San Felice at number 20: an all Sangiovese Italian podium. Then, at 23, Mazzei Maremma Toscana 2013 Tenuta Belguardo, Luigi Einaudi Dogliani 2015 at number 38, Poggione Rosso di Montalcino 2015 at 46 and the Cellar of Pino Barbaresco Ovello 2013 at number 61. Next, Scacciadiavoli Montefalco Sagrantino 2011 at 66, Gini Soave Classic 2016 at 69, Donnachiara Aglianico Irpinia 2015 at 71, Michele Castellani Valpolicella Classico Superiore San Michele Ripasso 2015 at number 80. At number 84, Simone Santini Vernaccia of San Gimignano Tenuta Le Calcinaie 2015, Garofoli Verdicchio of Castelli di Jesi Podium 2014 at 92, Di Meo Greco di Tufo G 2016 at 94, Feudi of the Pisciotto Nero d’Avola Terre Siciliane Versace 2015 at 96 and finally Odoardi Calabria 2014, for perhaps a never so varied representation of Italy’s oenological wealth (www.top100.winespectator.com).
In the 28 years the US magazine Wine Spectator has issued its "Top 100" ranking, Italy has enjoyed a fairly good track record, conquering first place on three occasions: in 2006, Brunello of Montalcino 2001 Tenuta Nuova Casanova di Neri, in 2001 Ornellaia 1998 of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia and in 2000 Solaia 1997. But, Italy has not always done so well. In the 1989, 1996 and 1997 editions, no Italian wines were ranked in the Top 10.
Italy did place four of its wines in the Top 10 in two separate years, though - in 2001, Ornellaia 1998 of Tenuta dell'Ornellaia was number 1, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano Grandi Annate Riserva 1997 di Avignonesi was number 4, Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso 1998 of Antinori, number 6 and Barolo 1997 of Pio Cesare was at number 7. And also in 2009, Chianti Classico Castello di Brolio 2006 by Barone Ricasoli was number 5, Barolo Marcenasco 2005 by Renato Ratti number 7, Fontodi Colli Flaccianello in Central Tuscany 2006 number 8, and Brancaia Toscana Tre 2007 was at number 10.
The history of Italian wines on the Wine Spectator "Top 100" ranking has had highs (many) and lows (a few) with a very precise common thread, i.e., the "duopoly" of Piedmont and Tuscany that over the last 28 years have dominated the chart. Tuscan wines did better, overall - though the merit should be divided among the different terroirs and typologies –until 1995, when Brunello burst on the scene (on the wave of one of the best vintages ever, 1990). Chianti and the TGI wines (which then became "Super Tuscans") had been the leaders, even though in 1993 Piedmont surpassed the Tuscan wines (11 to 3) thanks to the 1989 Barolo harvest, when there were eight award-winning wines.
Italy has almost always placed ten wines on the "Top 100", but has had some negative vintages to deal with as well. The worst performance was in 1997, when only 4 wines got on the chart, but 1996 was not much better, when there were only 6, and in 1989 and 1998, only 8 Italian wines were on the ranking. The record number was in 2002, when 21 wines were listed (of which 7 Brunellos, just like in 1995), but 2011 was also a great edition with 20 wines on the "Top 100", and so was the 2015 edition, of which, needless to say, there were 4 Brunellos, 3 Barolos, 2 Chiantis and 2 Barbarescos ... and except for some wines from Franciacorta or the Veneto now and then, there was really no room for any other region other than Tuscany and Piedmont.
In 2015, however, Southern Italy made its first appearance with one wine from Campania and one from Sicily, and from that moment on, pluralism has no longer abandoned the Italian wines on Wine Spectator’s "Top 100".

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